Summer of sport must not mask reality of trying to be active for disabled people in Northumberland

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Research from Activity Alliance, who are a leading voice for disabled people in sport and activity, has revealed disabled people in Northumberland are still being left behind when trying to access sports and physical activities.

With a summer of sport on the horizon, including the Paralympic Games, the national charity is leading calls to make meaningful changes so many more disabled people can enjoy an active lifestyle.

Activity Alliance CEO, Adam Blaze, said: “We know that the nation will get swept up by Olympic and Paralympic fever this summer, so what better opportunity to use this moment and finally address the stark differences in opportunities disabled people face in sport and physical activity.

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“As we cheer on medal winners, I urge people to recognise that three-quarters of disabled people in our country want to be more active.

An instructor looking after a customer in the gymAn instructor looking after a customer in the gym
An instructor looking after a customer in the gym

“Not everyone wants to be or can be a gold medal winner.

“Everyone has the right to be active where and however they choose to be, but this is not reality when you look at the latest findings in our survey.

“There are some fantastic examples across the country that challenge this trend, whether within the local community or national programmes, and these need to be available to everyone who wants to be active.

“There are more than 16 million disabled people in the UK, and the reality is that three in four want to be more active.

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“This is not only an untapped market but shows there are vital improvements needed to break down deep-rooted barriers.

“A summer celebrating sporting achievements is the perfect time to do this.”

The report from the latest Annual Disability and Activity Survey shows disabled people are twice as likely to be inactive than non-disabled people, a disparity that has remained consistent since the first report was released five years ago.

With the world set to celebrate the sporting achievements of Paralympians in Paris this summer, the latest report highlights a significant ‘activity gap’ remains between disabled people and their non-disabled peers. Only four in 10 disabled people feel they have the opportunity to be active as they want to be, compared to seven in 10 non-disabled people.

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David Clarke OBE, Chief Executive of ParalympicsGB added: “Disabled people continue to feel that they have less chance to be active compared to their nondisabled counterparts. Whilst we wave the flag for the ParalympicsGB team at the Paralympic Games we must also wave the flag for every disabled person in the UK, removing barriers to participation in sport and physical activity and creating thriving inclusive activity provision across the country.”

The report, which surveyed over 2,000 disabled and non-disabled adults aged 16+, has insight into the day-to-day barriers disabled people face when trying to be active and those sharing their experiences with Activity Alliance say that they “dare not even put the heating on” let alone invest in their physical and mental health, and multiple reports that disability access remains “one of the forgotten things”.

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